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The Communicator

Fundraising Beyond Boundaries

Over a decade after its creation, the annual Food Gatherers fundraiser stays strong.
Nick+Idzikowski+is+next+to+the+Root+Forum%E2%80%99s+poster.+As+an+avid+artist%2C+he+drew+the+faces+of+his+fellow+forum+members.+%E2%80%9CI+think+this+is+often+a+once+in+a+lifetime+chance+to+have+a+large+group+of+people+dedicated+to+a+cause+that+you+can+participate+in+easily%2C%E2%80%9D+Idzikowski+said.+%E2%80%9CI+feel+really+grateful+for+being+able+to+help+them+in+this+way.+Being+directly+supported+by+Food+Gatherers.%E2%80%9D
Aidan Hsia
Nick Idzikowski is next to the Root Forum’s poster. As an avid artist, he drew the faces of his fellow forum members. “I think this is often a once in a lifetime chance to have a large group of people dedicated to a cause that you can participate in easily,” Idzikowski said. “I feel really grateful for being able to help them in this way. Being directly supported by Food Gatherers.”
Throughout her classroom and just outside her door, Maneesha Mankad posts reminders of her forum’s goals. To ensure her forum meets consistent goals, Mankad thinks having what they’re moving towards is clear. “It’s going to be really important to have these because that’s what keeps people going,” Mankad said. “Otherwise, we have everybody contributing towards the end. It doesn’t have the same feeling as us hitting each goal consistently.” (Aidan Hsia)

Gathering in the late Fall dark, Cody DeVee would scour his neighborhood and any others that he could reach. Going door-to-door, looking for any donation from anyone who was feeling charitable, by late November, DeVee would have mustered thousands of dollars in total.

“It was honestly a blast,” said DeVee in a speech at the end of his high school career. “It was a game I played against myself, to see how much I could do.”

Over a decade later, DeVee’s work still inspires those at Community High School during the annual Food Gatherers fundraiser. Tracy Anderson, one of the fundraiser organizers, attributes the modern success of the campaign back to DeVee, feeling he was one of the backbones that pushed the initial $3,000 total into what it has been in recent years — $80,000 per year.

“It’s been different people along the way that have made the fundraisers into what it is,” Anderson said. “Along the way, there have been so many different teachers who have done things to get their forum engaged.”

This year, many Forums were ready to get the fundraiser started by establishing goals for each money point — piercings, mullet hairstyles and tattoos were all on the table. In the Mankad Forum, students were excited to bring back past challenges that they missed from previous years.

Maneesha Mankad, along with one of her seniors, would get a tattoo; a student, with the title of “Cake Queen,” would bake a cake for the Forum; a

freshman wanted to jump into the Huron River — to which Mankad had to lessen into just the Ice Bucket Challenge; and a senior photo shoot with outfits picked by the Forum.

“I’m excited about all of the goals because each one reflects the uniqueness of the individual which is super cool,” Mankad said. “Even if you don’t meet them, the goal is what generates the enthusiasm.”

With only a few weeks in the fundraiser, Mankad hopes the goals inspire students to reach the goals consistently, rather than cramming in money in the last week. Throughout her classroom and on her door, signs with the goals are placed to encourage students to keep in mind the goals.

Similarly, the Hunscher-Young Forum established goals from piercings to cutting hair. However, Joslyn Hunscher-Young was most excited about the bonding that her students would do during the fundraiser. With enthusiasm from seniors, they were able to inspire students all the way down to freshmen. Hunscher-Young was excited to see the ninth graders establish bonds and identities together as they pledged to jump into the Huron River. However, with exciting goals like jumping in the river or getting to pie someone in the face, Hunscher-Young also wants students to realize the true importance of Food Gatherers — helping others.

“I would love to see our school and our students do more to really think about what hunger looks like in our area, why that exists,” Hunscher-Young said.

Hunscher-Young realizes that in this time, getting students inspired to fundraise may just require letting them pie someone else. But senior Nick Idzikowski doesn’t need goals to convince him to fundraise — to help others has been his life goal. After a long conversation with a friend about the world, they finally came to the conversation’s conclusion: “What can that’s reflective of a larger issue in the U.S. and the world and what they can do about it.”

That’s when Idzikowski knew what he wanted to do with his life.

“It was fantastic,” Idzikowski said. “It was like I knew what I was going to do with the rest of my life at that moment. I want people to live freely and money can prevent that. This [fundraiser] is going against poverty. It’s part of my dream.”

Last year, while fundraising for the Jones School plaque, Idzikowski went door-to-door gathering money. He found inspiration in seeing joy because it’s exactly the goal.

“This is gonna sound cheesy, but if you find a passion within yourself, for Food Gatherers or whatever, and you extend that to other people it’ll feel better, it’ll be easier, it’ll be fun,” Idzikowski said.

This November, Idzikowski hoped to go door-to-door again, feeling it was a great experience. Being able to explain the problems — whether it’s food insecurity or raising awareness of Jones School — was a great way to fundraise. Even if a donation wasn’t received, raising awareness is a part of the goal.

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About the Contributors
Aidan Hsia, News Editor
Aidan is the news editor for the Communicator and a senior at CHS. He’s played classical guitar for most of his life but loves all kinds of music. Aidan likes reading, playing games, or watching late-night movies with his dog. He’s excited to start his senior year and to write stories for the Communicator.
Leo Castilho, Journalist
Leo Castilho is a first-year journalist and a junior at Community High School. Outside of home and school, you can catch Leo rowing for Skyline down at the docks of Concordia College, in a lab at Umich, at a fair, or relaxing with friends simply driving around.

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